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Blog search service comparison

Part II of my book is back from the dev and copy editors and I'm spending this weekend correcting and updating the chapters so they can be sent off to the type-setter. Most of the changes appear to be small, but the chapter on searching and monitoring blogs is in serious need of update.

The world of blog search has changed a lot recently. When I wrote the chapter last year, Technorati, Feedster and Pubsub we the whole story. Now Google is coming on strong, Yahoo is experimenting and who knows what Microsoft is doing. So I decided to try comparing the features of what appear (to me at least) to be the leading blog search engines. My new list is Google, Yahoo, Technorati, Feedster, Pubsub and IceRocket. I'm not totally sure Yahoo belongs here, News Search appears to be pretty weak, but I'm going to leave them in because they're a big name. Note that Microsoft is not in the list (if they have blog search, I can't find it). Here's my blog search feature comparison matrix so far:

Are any of those features unclear or require explanation? Let's see. I probably shouldn't have listed "Ads in results newsfeed" as a feature, it's really more of a bug.  "Web interface to search" is only there because Pubsub doesn't have it -- you can't get search results on the Pubsub site, you must subscribe via newsfeed reader. I think the rest are self-explanatory.

And here is a list of the blog search services with links:
If you have a correction, question or think I've left out something important, please let me know. Comments are open.

Update I: Feedster appears to be having problems these days. The Feedster API docs are not available, I get 404s for the Feedster API and the developer wiki. Link search and subscribe to search features are temporarily disabled because, the site says "Our Chief Scientist is bringing you something new in January!"

Update II: After receiving feedback from Mark Cuban of IceRocket, Greg Gershman of BlogDigger, Ian Kallen of Technorati, Steven Cohen of Pubsub and  Allen Graham of Feedster. I've updated my matrix. Cuban and Cohen sent in some corrections. Greg asked that I include BlogDigger and BlogPulse, so I did. I also added in a row for Open Search support. Both Kallen and Graham wrote in to tell of cool new features coming soon, but nothing new for the matrix right now.

Tags: topic:[Search],topic:[RSS],topic:[Atom],topic:[Blog Search],topic:[Yahoo],topic:[Google],topic:[Technorati],topic:[Feedster],topic:[IceRocket],topic:[Pubsub]

Just a few corrections about PubSub: 1) You can search by words in the title of a post by using the title: operator. (ie: title:pubsub will only bring back results with PubSub in the title. 2) You can limit your search to one blog url by using the source: operator (ie: source:rollerweblogger.com will only bring back results from that domain) 3) You can search by those who link to any url by using the uri: operator. (ie: uri:pubsub.com will only bring back results that link to pubsub.com) 4) We provide results in e-mail for a few of our services, such as SEC filings and Earthquake data. 5) Learn more about our Boolean operators available by visiting http://www.pubsub.com/booleanhelp.php. 6) All of our results are sorted by date. 7) Developers can build apps and services on top of PubSub by using our XMPP (Jabber) delivery service - http://www.pubsub.com/tools.php. Thanks Steven Cohen scohen@pubsub.com

Posted by Steven M. Cohen on January 15, 2006 at 04:27 PM EST #

While Google doesn't have an official "API", it does return results in Atom/RSS format, which is pretty much all you need.

Yahoo does have an API (See their News search (http://developer.yahoo.net/search/news/V1/newsSearch.html) - it is combined with that. It also allows you to restrict search to sites(s)) However, I find it is easier just to use their RSS results and run queries agains that.

(I have a library that does searches against most of these engines, BTW: http://argos.dev.java.net (get the CVS version for support for some of these search engines)).

Posted by Nick Lothian on January 15, 2006 at 09:31 PM EST #

Steven: thanks for your corrections, I will update my table. Nick: thanks for pointing out the Yahoo News Search API. Speaking of API's, maybe in should include a row for the A9's OpenSearch(TM) API. Both Feedster and IceRocket it support it, but I don't think any of the others do.

Posted by Dave Johnson on January 15, 2006 at 09:43 PM EST #

Icerocket can limit search to 1 site through our web interface. So if you wanted to find all references to Britney Spears on Myspace.com blogs, its easy. Site:www.myspace.com "britney spears" or 1 blog site:www.blogmaverick.com "icerocket" and if you are interested in real time tracking of who is linking to you, that you can post on your blog, try our linktracker http://www.icerocket.com/c?p=linktracker

Posted by mark cuban on January 16, 2006 at 02:03 AM EST #

and while im here, i couple things of interest that might be considered worthy features are the ability to search for a phrase within a tag , title or author search so you can search for a tag:music beatles

Posted by mark cuban on January 16, 2006 at 02:05 AM EST #

Dave, We've got a number of enhancements and new search features coming up in a series of new site launches in the next few months (starting in January). You are invited to give me a call or stop by our offices to discuss/view some of these features. Best, Alan Alan Graham Feedster BTW...your comment post challenge...don't assume 1+20 is a "simple math question" for the math challenged like me.

Posted by Alan Graham on January 16, 2006 at 12:41 PM EST #

Nice analysis Dave. One comment about Google blogsearch: limit search to one blog url is in there, here's an example: http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?as_q=blogsearch&num=10&hl=en&c2coff=1&btnG=Search+Blogs&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&bl_pt=&bl_bt=&bl_url=http%3A%2F%2Frollerweblogger.org%2Fpage%2Froller&bl_auth=&as_drrb=q&as_qdr=&as_mind=1&as_minm=3&as_miny=2005&as_maxd=18&as_maxm=1&as_maxy=2006&lr=&safe=off

Posted by Patrick Chanezon on January 18, 2006 at 04:40 PM EST #

Nice comparison, I would like to make a few corrections, we can restrict the search to the title, using intitle:..., or title:..., or even title=..., the same goes for author using author:..., we can also restrict by date ranges too, but that functionality is a little hard to get to right now, and we will be changing that soon.

Posted by François Schiettecatte on January 22, 2006 at 07:57 PM EST #

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